Ubuntu 9.10 Officially Released
Personally, I've been using grub2 for a long time now. A year or two, probably.
Even Debian has it available -- and that's my measuring stick as to whether things are "old" or not.
Bell Proposing Usage-Based Billing
I disagree with your statement about city water.
Lots of people living in rural areas have wells and septic system. But when my old telecom provider replaced the party lines in 1998, they ran fibre instead of copper, and so now people have "cheap", reliable internet, but live 10 kilometres from the nearest water pipe.
It might not even be as good as my Teksavvy DSL now that I've moved to a larger place, but it is definitely possible to have.
Long-Term Personal Data Storage?
Hard drives, while they may fail, are still probably your best chance.
Using RAID-1 or -5, you can keep the drives running (possibly intermittently) and can avoid failure.
With the rate of hard drive growth, you can just replace them with bigger drives when the time comes you need more space.
It isn't exactly the same as throwing them in a cold room and forgetting them, but it isn't too expensive either.
CRTC Rules Bell Can Squeeze Downloads
If they were connecting to the DSLAM, this wouldn't be a problem.
The problem is the infrastructure used to connect the ISP to the DLSAM -- this is also rented from bell, and what they claim is congested, and what is being shaped.
Bell is mandated to allow access to the DSLAM as part of their monopoly, but not the network which the resellers are currently using, and where all the naughty stuff happens. I don't think any of the resellers are large enough to start laying their own cables either, so there isn't too much that can happen here other than bend over, or encrypt your traffic. Teksavvy at least allows users to use MPPPoE instead of regular PPPoE, which isn't throttled, so you can circumvent Bell that way for now.